Puscantrupa Este Peru: new route by Kozjek and Kresal
On 6/07 the Slovenian mountaineers Pavle Kozjekande Gregor Kresal made the first ascent of Stonehenge (VII+/VI, 70/50° ice, 600m), up the East face of Puscantrupa Este (5410m), Cordillera Huayhuash, Peru.
Pavle Kozjek has returned to Peru. Two years agter having completed the famous route “Jeff Lowe” on Trapecio, the Slovenian mountaineer returned to the Cordillera Huayhuash for another lightening ascent. Climbing together with fellow countryman Grega Kresal, Kozjek made the first ascent Stonehenge, a 14 hour round trip up the unclimbed Puscantrupa Este (5410m). 600m, grade VII+/VI, 70/50° ice are the numbers put forward by the “gentle giant”, who last year made a fast solo ascent up Cho Oyu which netted him the People’s Award at the Piolet d'Or 2006.
Stonehenge, Puscantrupa Este, Peru
Trip report by Pavle Kozjek
On 6th of July 2007 Slovenians Pavle Kozjek and Grega Kresal made the first ascent of the east face of Puscantrupa Este (5410m). The peak is located in extreme south-east corner of Huayhuash, far from the usual approaches from the west. Their new line, Stonehenge (VII+/VI, 70/50 degree ice, 600m) ascends a wall that had not been attempted for over twenty years. In the first 200m the line follows ice below the steep rock face that they climbed in ten pitches (60 m rope). Kozjek and Kresal made the ascent in a fourteen hour roundtrip in pure alpine style.
They drove eleven hours from Huaraz to reach Cajatambo, from where they started a long two-day trek to reach the south side of the peak, beneath which they established basecamp. Starting at 4 a .m. on July 6, they needed more than an hour to reach the base of the face. After passing easier ice sections they began to climb the steep wall made of lithic tuff, the typical volcanic rock of the Puscanturpa group. In general it was of very good quality; however, some sections of the climb were a bit risky because of large unstable blocks (knowledge about unstable rock from Slovenian mountains proved extremely useful).
After 200 meters of easy ice they started to climb rock on a sharp ridge From the first rocks on the ridge the line continues for two steep pitches (V, VI) up the slabs to reach the obvious ledge. From there they followed the system of cracks and corners: the fifth pitch (VII) in perfect, almost monolythic rock with few possibilities for protection, and a sixth pitch (VII+) that began with “the Scary Corner,” a loose 10-meter dihedral where a moving block jammed one of their Camalots.
They traversed right into another corner and after 2 and half pitches (VI, V) they reached the broken summit ridge from the N side. They reached the summit at around 14:00 and rappelled down the same line. The normal route (W ridge, 1986) was so broken that we were scared to descend it.
The only known previous attempt was in 1986 by Nixon and partner (source: Jeremy Frimer: Climbs and treks in the Cordillera Huayhuash of peru, 2005). Half a pitch above the col between Puscanturpa and needle Moomoo (in their third pitch), Kozjek and Kresal found a piton with carabiner for rappel.
According to Jeremy Frimer’s guide to the area (a book that inspired Kozjek to attempt this unclimbed wall on Puscantrupa Este) - Stonehenge was only the second ascent to the top of this mountain.